Sun, Tech Data Expand Partnership

Sun hopes expanded partnership will help it capture a biggers slice of the middle tier.

Sun Microsystems Inc. is pushing forward with its low-end and midrange systems strategy via an expanded partnership with Tech Data Corp.

Tech Data resellers can now sell Suns entire line of entry-level servers, including the two-way LX50 and Sun Fire V60x and V65x systems—either for x86-based Linux applications or, next month, for Solaris—and the SPARC/Solaris-based V210 and V240 rack-mounted servers, Sun announced on Tuesday. The resellers also will be able to distribute Suns line of Cobalt servers.


Read eWEEK Labs review of Sun Fire V65x.

In addition, the companies have established two partner categories. Registered Volume Resellers will be able to offer Suns Linux-based servers and workgroup storage products. Authorized Volume Resellers will be a member of Suns iForce program and will be able to offer both SPARC- and x86-based systems as well as all storage products. They also must possess certain certifications.

Tech Data, of Clearwater, Fla., already offers a wide range of Sun hardware and software.

Bill Cate, director of Suns U.S. iForce program office, said the Santa Clara, Calif., company—whose strength historically has been in high-end systems—defines the midtier as businesses with 99 to 1,000 employees.

"We cant [capture that space] alone," Cate said. "Were going to do that with reseller involvement, through partnerships with companies like Tech Data."

He estimated that midmarket IT spending was about $200 billion in 2001, with server spending being about $15 billion. Going the partner route enables Sun to reach new customers without having to invest in hiring and training an entirely new work force, Cate said.

He also said that Sun, with its Solaris, Linux and x86 offerings, gives midmarket businesses what they need. The company has launched 20 systems that sell for less than $10,000 over the past 18 months.


See what Sun CEO Scott McNealy has to say about Linux.

"The marketplace was looking for a clear direction from us, and I think were providing clarity on the direction right now with Linux and x86 on the systems," he said. "Its about choice."